The evening sun was trying to escape. It was taking its golden rays and leaving us for a time. In a generous spirit, three friends arrived for dinner. As we talked about life and art, the question turned to one with the most experience.
“What do you do when you do not like a piece of art?”
“As you are painting it.”
“That is easy. I paint over what I had painted and start again.”
“You just paint over? The lost investment in time doesn’t bother you?”
“Yes, it is about the present, not about the past.”
The answer caught me a bit off guard. I know about the hours he often invests in his paintings. I have seen the work. I understand the commitment. Then the obvious came into focus. Starting fresh with a painting is a statement of hope. Everything that has been done is not forgotten, it is the foundation for learning what to do in this moment. It is in the now that I can reach for something better. It is in the now that I can make a difference.
In my life there are always at least three layers, the past, present, and future. When I let the past or future dominate, I find that I am caught in despair’s grip or future’s uncertainty. I cannot change the past. It simply is. I cannot control the future. I can do something about the present.
When I look at the past, too often there is the need for blame. My realization in the starting fresh with a new coat of paint is the opportunity to put the past in perspective. A wisdom father asked a question; “Do you see the difference? Sacrifices offered to idols are offered to nothing, for what’s the idol but a nothing? Or worse than nothing, a minus, a demon!” (1 Corinthians 10.19)
His invitation is the same as a painting and our lives. Come into the present. Let Divinity restore your soul. Learn what is valuable. Let go of everything else. Start fresh in this moment.